Red Bull Racing ended their 2016 Formula One campaign as best of the rest behind the Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 Team with a strong result in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.
Max Verstappen fought tooth and nail with Sebastian Vettel for the final podium place however in the end the Dutchman had to settle for fourth place ending the race just ahead of his team Daniel Ricciardo.
Verstappen, who completed his second season in Formula One had a great year, winning his very first race for Red Bull Racing, the Spanish Grand Prix in May and ending the year in fifth place in the championship.
Speaking following the race, Verstappen commented by saying:
I am very pleased with my result and how that race went. After being last after turn 1, having to fight my way back and doing it all on a one-stop was the best we could do and I am happy we pulled it off. I knew I was going to come under attack from the two-stop guys as they obviously had more life left in the tyres, I don’t think I could have held Seb off at the end. When you still finish in front of guys who did an extra stop you have to be pleased with the result, especially as we also finished so close to P1. It was an unfortunate tap at the start which caused the spin, it was just a racing incident though and these things happen. I think Lewis was trying to back us up, and I probably would have done the same, you have to try these things to win a championship. It is very nice to finish the season fifth in the championship and to have had some really good results along the way. After yesterday I wasn’t too happy, so now we finish it on a high. It has been a special season for me this year and I am really excited to get next year underway and hopefully bring more success.
Daniel Ricciardo started the race from third place on the grid but was left disappointed as he ended the Grand Prix in fifth place just ahead of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen. Despite finishing in fifth place, the Australian can take some satisfaction by ending the year in third place in the championship and as best of the rest behind the Mercedes duo of world champion Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton.
Speaking following the Grand Prix, Ricciardo commented by saying:
I don’t want to be too down as I’m still fifth. I’m just frustrated in how the strategy played out in the end. We had the supersofts at the start and it was still going pretty well and we tried to make a move on Kimi. For sure it was close but we didn’t pull it off and that really hurt me. I think we should have just gone long and one-stopped but in hindsight it’s always easy to say. I saw Max spin in mirrors in turn 1, so I thought he was out of the race and then he does a one-stop and fights for the podium so he did well. I just feel we hurt with the two-stop strategy as the supersoft was a good tyre today. Hats off to Nico. It must be an amazing feeling to be world champion. They both pushed each other until the end and it’s nice to see the title go down to the line like that. Looking at the season overall I’m super happy and very pleased with the year. It’s definitely been more highs than lows this year with a lot of podiums, satisfying races and a good chunk of points. I got amongst it when I could so I think it was a good 2016 for sure. I’m not going to get too caught up with thinking about next year, but if we woke up in February for testing and the car’s quick then you’ll see me fighting for it (the title).
Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner commented on the end of the season by saying:
Congratulations to Nico Rosberg on becoming a very worthy world champion following an exciting race today in Abu Dhabi. It always looked likely that Lewis was going to drive the slowest possible race should he be in the lead, and that’s exactly what happened. Unfortunately our race took a bit of a knock from the start, firstly with Max when he spun round at the first turn dropping him to the back of the field. Thereafter his recovery was quite phenomenal using the best of the supersoft tyre to make a one-stop race feasible. He fought right to the end but he didn’t have enough left in his tyres to fend off the challenge of Sebastian Vettel who was on the fresher supersoft, however it was a great result to finish P4. Daniel had quite a big lock up into the first turn which gave him a big flat spot during that first stint. Although he managed to undercut Kimi on the second stint, unfortunately he spent most of the afternoon tucked up under someone’s rear wing and that gave his tyres quite a hard time and P5 was probably about the maximum. This race brings to a close a really exciting year. It has been a great season for the team, we’ve worked tremendously hard and finishing second in the Constructors’ Championship with two victories has been an incredible achievement. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the team for their effort and commitment this season; to thank Red Bull and all of our partners who support us so well, and also to thank our engine partner and the hard-working team at Viry.